Unoccupied House On Your Block?

by Shilpi Paul

1452 Euclid Street NW. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Unoccupied, boarded-up homes can be worrying eyesores for city residents hoping to spruce up their neighborhood. While this is nothing new in DC, a Ward 1 resident recently became curious about a boarded-up row house at 1452 Euclid Street NW, as he was eager to see it rehabbed and add value to the community. He started sleuthing in the hopes of pushing the property into the hands of someone that would be able to rehabilitate it.

Using the city’s property assessment database, the resident found that the property is owned by the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). Failing to find the home on the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) vacant property map, he wrote to both DCHA and the DC government to get answers about what will become of the house.

In an effort to help, UrbanTurf reached out to DCHA and was told that the home will eventually be renovated and then likely rented to lower-income DC residents. However, DCHA was unable to provide a timeline on when this will happen. The concerned resident also received a response from the head of DCHA, who promised a more comprehensive status update soon.

The row house could be one of DCHA’s “scattered site” houses, which are intended for public housing. The “scattered site” model for public housing, wherein the government maintains properties throughout various neighborhoods in the city, is an alternative to the usual concentrated public housing system. According to a post from New Columbia Heights earlier this year, DCHA received a sizable grant from HUD to gut and renovate 26 of these homes.

While the resident was left only slightly sated, UrbanTurf will update this post if and when he hears back with a more comprehensive answer.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/unoccupied_house_on_your_block/4395


  1. Anon said at 8:36 am on Friday October 21, 2011:

    Yet another example of Gov’t bureaucracy and misguided initiatives screwing up private enterprise and bringing down people’s wealth. With the lack of housing currently on the market DC should sell all of these shells to private investors to make them beautiful again, thereby increasing the tax base and increasing revenue for the city.
    We need to keep an eye on this and see how long it stays vacant, blighting the block and attracting rats and trash. What a disaster!

  1. Anon blows said at 9:33 am on Friday October 21, 2011:

    Thanks, Anon, for the “Government is the problem” commentary.

    Perhaps you can troll Fox News with those comments and come back when you’re ready to accept that we need housing solutions in DC to residents from ALL socioeconomic levels… including low income residents.

    Personally, I like the “scattered sites” approach.  Can’t wait to see it up and running!

  1. 1452 Neighbor said at 11:21 am on Friday October 21, 2011:

    The scattered sites approach is a great concept. Certainly the analysis of it on the benefits side shows measurable advantage over concentrated housing projects. Just yesterday, reports came out of a study that ties better neighborhoods to better health for low-income residents:

    However, the practical reality presents certain challenges for exactly the reason “Anon blows” states—we NEED housing solutions in DC! DCHA has over 8000 units with 17000 households on the public housing waiting list! And for this reason, DCHA focuses its efforts where it can most effectively provide a large number of units, which is in multi-tenant developments.

    Scattered sites are clearly not a priority within DCHA, which makes sense, because the economies of scale are not there. In their FY2011 plan, DCHA reported 175 units under “New Public Housing Units to be Added”. The 175 units were to be added across only four developments. Not a single scattered site property was listed in this plan.

    DCHA has had scattered sites in their inventory for years, without significantly increasing the number that are available or occupied. DCHA has acknowledged a movement away from scattered sites by reducing their inventory, at least until federal stimulus funding was awarded for rehabilitating 26 of the units. The remaining units, like 1452 Euclid, should be sold off.

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